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Green Fuel Turbulence: Airlines Balk at High Cost of "Clean Kerosene", Jeopardizing Sustainable Flight Plans

1 Feb 2024

Will Eco-Friendly Skies Take Flight? High Costs Ground "Green Kerosene" Projects

Airlines are hitting the brakes on "green kerosene," a clean alternative fuel made from green hydrogen. The reason? Sticker shock. This eco-friendly jet fuel's high cost is stalling projects and raising concerns about the future of sustainable aviation.

EU Pushes for Green Skies, Airlines Say "Hold On"

Europe is taking action, mandating airlines to use a specific amount of "green kerosene" by 2030. But airlines, hesitant to pay a premium for the cleaner fuel, are leaving producers grounded. While 25 projects are in the works, none are ready for takeoff, according to a report by Transport & Environment (T&E).

Cost Conundrum: Green Fuel's Price Tag is a Drag

T&E points the finger at the high cost of production, a major hurdle for airlines and project financing. Green hydrogen and renewable electricity, key ingredients, are pricey, making "green kerosene" about 10 times more expensive than traditional jet fuel.

The Race to Affordable Green Flight: Is There Light at the End of the Runway?

The good news? The cost gap is expected to shrink as renewable energy and hydrogen production get cheaper. By 2050, "green kerosene" could be 2.5 times more expensive than its fossil fuel counterpart.

But there are more hurdles:

  • Limited Green Hydrogen and Biofuel: Producing enough "green kerosene" to meet future demand would require a huge chunk of Europe's renewable energy. Managing aviation fuel demand and efficiency improvements could ease this issue.

  • Infrastructure Blues: Oil companies control jet fuel infrastructure, making it tough for new players like "green kerosene" producers to enter the market. The EU might need to intervene.

  • Biofuel Bonanza, or Bust? "Green kerosene" often relies on biogenic carbon, which is scarce. The EU's current policies might be making things worse by encouraging carbon storage over utilization.

The Verdict: A Bumpy Ride Ahead for Green Skies

Airlines' reluctance to pay a premium and the challenges of scaling up production cast a shadow on the future of "green kerosene." However, cost reductions, policy changes, and infrastructure adjustments could pave the way for a smoother landing for sustainable aviation.

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